News July 2013 Issue

In The News: July 2013

Chondroitin Sulfate Use Reduces Need for Knee Replacement
Patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee who used at least 800 mg/day of chondroitin sulfate achieved significant reductions in the likelihood of needing a total knee replacement (TKR) after six months, according to results of a large observational study from Spain. In a review of 122,633 patients from the SIDIAP database in the Catalonia region of Spain, the study included anyone diagnosed with OA of the knee (but no other site) between 2006 and 2011. Researchers found that use of chondroitin sulfate for at least six months led to a 13 percent reduction in TKR, and consistent use for a year was associated with a 23 percent reduction. While data is in favor of the supplement being beneficial for knee OA, it’s difficult to apply the results of studies using pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate in Europe to patients in the United States who use “nutraceutical” supplements.

Bone Drugs Benefit Joint Implants
Total joint replacement patients who used bisphosphonates showed a 40 percent reduction in the need for repeat surgery, a retrospective study found. Among those who took bisphosphonates, 1.88 percent had revision surgery during a median follow-up of 2.6 years compared with 4.36 percent of patients not taking the drugs, which correlated with a 38 percent lower relative risk of needing revision surgery, researchers reported at the annual meeting of the British Society for Rheumatology in April. An earlier U.K. cohort study suggested bisphosphonates seemed to help preserve implant survival, leading to the current study to analyze outcomes among patients enrolled in national registries in Denmark. Among 80,000 patients ages 40 and up who had received joint implants between 1998 and 2007, 1,950 had used bisphosphonates for at least six months. When compared with 10,755 nonusers, the protective effects were greater with longer use of bisphosphonates. Benefits were also greater among those who more closely adhered to their medication regimen, regardless if the bisphosphonate treatment began before or after the joint replacement, according to researchers.

Osteoarthritis Affecting Younger Knees
Symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) is now being found at the median age of 55, and almost one in 10 U.S. adults will develop the disabling condition by age 60, according a recent study. By using a validated computer simulation model with estimates beginning at age 25, researchers at Harvard University found a lifetime risk for symptomatic knee OA of 13.83 percent and a 9.29 percent risk by age 60 among the general population. Published in the May Arthritis Care & Research, the study collected data on OA prevalence from the 2007-2008 National Health Interview Survey and found that the estimated prevalence according to age groups was 0.74 percent for non-obese men ages 25 to 34 and 12.94 percent for those 85 and older; for obese men the rates were 1.54 percent and 23.54 percent respectively. The prevalence of OA was 0.88 percent in non-obese women ages 25 to 34, and 14.97 percent for people age 85 and older. The rates for obese women ranged from 2.41 percent to 32.45 percent.

Women Smokers May Have Higher Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Female smokers, both past and present, are at increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a new study says. After analyzing data collected from 34,000 women, aged 54 to 89 in Sweden (219 of whom had RA), researchers found the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years a woman smoked both affected the risk of RA. Published April 22 in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, the research indicates women who had smoked for up to 25 years were much more likely to develop the disease than those who never smoked. Even light smoking (one to seven cigarettes per day) more than doubled the risk, while quitting smoking lowered the risk over time.